Wenger details 'peaceful' relationship with former Man United boss Ferguson

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The outgoing Gunners boss admitted things have calmed since the Red Devils legend retired while also discussing the reunion with Alexis Sanchez

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's relationship with former Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson is now "peaceful", following numerous explosive clashes in the pair's heyday.

The rivalry between the two managers and their Premier League sides was the defining managerial clash of the last decade, with both clubs going toe-to-toe to secure silverware.

However, since Ferguson's retirement five years ago, the relationship between the two legendary bosses has changed for the better, with pair now being a lot closer and sharing memories.

Speaking to Arsenal's official website ahead of the Gunners' clash with Jose Mourinho's United side at Old Trafford on Sunday, Wenger lifted the lid on his relationship with Ferguson.

"Now it's peaceful. Both of us have calmed down and with time respect takes over," Wenger said.

"You know that both of you fight and I think with both of us, we identified highly with our clubs because we stayed for a long time.

"For both of us, it was more than just a manager who does his job in a professional football club. We were highly identified by being linked in a strong way with our club and having a love story.

"He has a love story with Man United and I have one with Arsenal. That's why maybe as well it was more than just winning a game at stake."

He added: "We are closer already. We have a good relationship and we keep our individual memories."

This weekend’s showdown at Old Trafford not only brings up memories of old rivalries for Wenger, but recent friendships too as he prepares to face former Gunners forward Alexis Sanchez.

Alexis made the switch from north London to Old Trafford in January, in a deal that saw Henrikh Mkhitaryan move the other way, and is set to tackle his former team-mates for the first time this weekend.

Wenger brought Sanchez to Emirates Stadium from Barcelona in 2014 but Arsenal were unable to agree to a new contract with the 29-year-old, forcing the Gunners into a mid-season sale amid anger from fans.

Sanchez was amongst those who paid tribute to Wenger following the announcement he will leave Arsenal this summer, bringing an end to a historic 22-year spell with the club, and the French boss feels it will be unusual to come up against his former star forward.

"Of course [it will be a little bit strange to face Alexis]. The only thing that has not changed is the colour, that's still red," Wenger added.

"It's strange for me to see him in a different shirt because he had a strong bond with the club and of course he was here for a few years. He did extremely well for us."

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The two-time FA Cup winner has since scored three goals for Manchester United, including an equaliser in the 2-1 FA Cup semi-final victory over Tottenham last weekend.

"At the time he did not accept our contract offer and the best possible way we could get something from his departure was to make an exchange for a player of the quality of Mkhitaryan," Wenger added.

"For him, it was a move to another big club. Overall, both parties had [the] interest to do what happened."

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